44 Minutes Review
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Forty-four minutes is a short period of time in the grand scheme of life. On February 28, 1997, though, 44 minutes must have felt like a lifetime for the LAPD in North Hollywood. That was the day when two heavily armed men walked into a Bank of America to rob it—and when they came out, they had no intention of going to jail. That is the subject of the new Fox DVD, 44 Minutes. The movie provides a re-enactment of that fateful morning and allows viewers to meet, understand, and empathize with some of the key players in this real-life drama.

Michael Madsen (Die Another Day, Reservoir Dogs) portrays the detective from robbery/homicide who had been tracking the men known as “The High Incident Robbers.” They were dubbed that because of the guns they used for their robberies and also for the amount of violence in their crimes. Prior to the February 28 incident, they had executed an armored car guard at point-blank range, and Madsen’s character made it his personal mission to capture these thugs.

Ron Livingston (Office Space, Band of Brothers) plays the S.W.A.T. officer who leads his team into North Hollywood when the “officer needs assistance” call goes out. His character is on the edge and dealing with the loss of his father, a 30-year police veteran. In fact, on that same day, he was commanded to take a personal leave of absence to mourn his father’s death.

Mario Van Peebles (Ali, New Jack City) is the beat officer who makes the move to help as many officers and civilians as possible during the shootout—and is shot while trying to assist a civilian who had been hit.

The event really happened, and the movie seems to keep the recollection accurate. It doesn’t try to make anything bigger, worse, or better than what actually happened. Fans of the TV show America’s Most Wanted will like this film because it’s like watching one of their segments. The ending really shows how accurately the film re-created the events—because they show live footage while offering written details on the outcome of that day. The extras on the DVD include a better than usual making-of featurette and trailers for other 20th Century Fox titles.

Grade: A (movie), B (disc)

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